The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week – old or new, bought or received for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

This week brought four finished copies and one ARC. One of the finished copies has been discussed here before, but here’s the link in case you missed it:

The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan

The Tropic of Serpents (A Memoir by Lady Trent #2) by Marie Brennan

The Tropic of Serpents was released in the US (hardcover/ebook) in March and will be released in the UK (paperback/ebook) on June 20. The first book in this series, A Natural History of Dragons, is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year so I’m quite excited about reading the second one!

I suspected from the very first page that I would love A Natural History of Dragons: Lady Trent’s voice captivated me, and I’m glad there are going to be five books total about her life and discoveries! (I’m currently working on a review of this book and trying to be more coherent than “IT’S FANTASTIC” is proving to be difficult.)

Excerpts from both books are available on

  1. A Natural History of Dragons
  2. The Tropic of Serpents

The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan’s The Tropic of Serpents . . .

Attentive readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoir, A Natural History of Dragons, are already familiar with how a bookish and determined young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would one day lead her to becoming the world’s premier dragon naturalist. Now, in this remarkably candid second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career.

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.

The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell . . . where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.

The Merchant Emperor by Elizabeth Haydon

The Merchant Emperor (Symphony of Ages #7) by Elizabeth Haydon

The latest book in the Symphony of Ages series will be released in hardcover and ebook on June 3 (about 7 1/2 years after the publication of the previous book in the series). An excerpt from The Merchant Emperor can be read on

The first six books in this series are as follows:

  1. Rhapsody: Child of Blood
  2. Prophecy: Child of Earth
  3. Destiny: Child of the Sky
  4. Requiem for the Sun
  5. Elegy for a Lost Star
  6. The Assassin King

The war that they had feared is now upon them. Ashe and Rhapsody, leaders of the Cymrian Alliance, are gathering their allies to combat the machinations of Talquist, who will soon be crowned emperor of Sorbold. Gwydion Navarne remains by Ashe’s side. Anborn, Lord Marshal, has taken to the field. And Rhapsody has been forced into hiding to protect the life of her infant son.

The Merchant Emperor of Sorbold has unintentionally allied himself with a pair of demons and has begun targeting the dragons that remain on the Middle Continent. Talquist will stop at nothing until the Cymrians are wiped out and the entire continent and the rest of the Known World is under his rule.

Assailed by danger from all sides, surrounded by lies and intrigue, Rhapsody is left with one undeniable truth: if their forces are to prevail, she must join the war herself, wielding the Daystar Clarion, an ancient weapon whose power is nearly unparalleled. As she struggles to reconcile her duties as a mother and ruler, a danger far more devastating than Talquist is stirring beneath the surface of the land itself.

The Scorched Earth by Drew Karpyshyn

The Scorched Earth (The Chaos Born #2) by Drew Karpyshyn

The Scorched Earth is scheduled for publication in August (trade paperback/ebook). An excerpt from Children of Fire, the first book in the series, can be read on Suvudu.


New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed video game writer Drew Karpyshyn returns with the second novel in an original epic fantasy series—perfect for fans of Terry Goodkind, Peter V. Brett, and Brandon Sanderson—about four young people who will either save the world or bring about its destruction.

The Children of Fire—four mortals touched by the power of Chaos—each embody one aspect of a banished and fallen immortal champion: Keegan, the wizard; Scythe, the warrior; Cassandra, the prophet; Vaaler, the king. Now grown to adulthood, the Children are in search of the ancient Talismans that can stop the return of Daemron the Slayer, ancient enemy of the Old Gods. But in acquiring Daemron’s Ring, they’ve left in their wake death, destruction, and a queen bent on revenge.

For the discovery of the Talismans has unleashed a flood of Chaos magic on the land—and now their strength will be tested and their faith tried as never before. Beset on all sides by both mortal and supernatural enemies, they race to find Daemron’s Sword, the last of the ancient Talismans, before the entire mortal world is engulfed in the flames of war and Chaos that will herald the return of the Slayer.

Shattered by Kevin Hearne

Shattered (The Iron Druid Chronicles #7) by Kevin Hearne

The latest novel in The Iron Druid Chronicles (and the first to be released in hardcover!) will be published on June 17. It will also be available as an ebook, and you can view some of the inside of Shattered on the publisher’s website.

The first six books in the series are as follows:

  1. Hounded
  2. Hexed
  3. Hammered
  4. Tricked
  5. Trapped
  6. Hunted

Acclaimed author Kevin Hearne makes his hardcover debut with the new novel in his epic urban fantasy series starring the unforgettable Atticus O’Sullivan.

For nearly two thousand years, there was only one Druid left walking the Earth—Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword kept him alive while pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company.

Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy.

And Owen has some catching up to do.

Atticus takes pleasure in the role reversal, as the student is now the teacher. Between busting Atticus’s chops and trying to fathom a cell phone, Owen must also learn English. For Atticus, the jury’s still out on whether the wily old coot will be an asset in the epic battle with Norse god Loki—or merely a pain in the arse.

But Atticus isn’t the only one with daddy issues. Granuaile faces a great challenge: to exorcise a sorcerer’s spirit that is possessing her father in India. Even with the help of the witch Laksha, Granuaile may be facing a crushing defeat.

As the trio of Druids deals with pestilence-spreading demons, bacon-loving yeti, fierce flying foxes, and frenzied Fae, they’re hoping that this time . . . three’s a charm.